Family ‘broken’ after couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning in hotel

The couple were poisoned as they slept after the room next door to them was sprayed with pesticide and chemicals to kill a bed bug infestation.

UK couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Egyptian hotel, coroner rules Family Handout

A mother-of-three said her family is “broken” after a coroner ruled her parents were killed by carbon monoxide while on a family holiday in Egypt.

Kelly Ormerod said her father John Cooper, 69, and mother Susan, 63, from Burnley, Lancashire, had been enjoying a “brilliant” time while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, the inquest into their deaths heard.

They were poisoned as they slept after the room next door to them was sprayed with pesticide and chemicals to kill a bed bug infestation.

The deadly vapour crept into their room under an adjoining locked door, Preston Coroner’s Court heard.

Ms Ormerod, who described her parents as fit and healthy for their age, had been on holiday with them, their three grandchildren and family friends.

But around lunchtime on the eighth day into their holiday the room next door to the Coopers was fumigated with pesticide, known as Lambda, for a bed bug infestation.

The pesticide was diluted with dichloromethane, a chemical that creates carbon monoxide.

The room was then sealed with masking tape around the door, the inquest heard.

Hours later the couple returned to their room for the night.

Ms Ormerod’s daughter, Molly, 12, who was staying on a single bed in her grandparent’s room began to feel ill, and in the early hours Mr Cooper escorted her to her mother’s room before returning.

The following morning Ms Ormerod knocked on their door after her parents failed to come down to breakfast.

She found both her father, a builder, and mother, a cashier in a Thomas Cook bureau de change, seriously ill. Her father was declared dead in the room and her mother hours later in hospital.

Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, on Friday ruled that the deaths on August 21 2018 were caused by the spraying of the pesticide containing the chemical dichloromethane in the adjoining room and the couple then inhaling the vapour, resulting in their deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.

He said the spraying had created sufficient vapour to pass under the adjoining door and poison the couple during their ten-hour exposure to the substances.

Earlier, the three-day inquest heard from toxicology expert Professor Robert Chilcott.

He told the hearing in less developed countries the pesticide Lambda is sometimes diluted with the substance, dichloromethane, which causes the body to metabolise or ingest carbon monoxide.

After the three-day inquest hearing Ms Ormerod read a statement from the family outside the coroner’s court.

“Our family still struggle to comprehend what we went through that day and feel like it should never have happened. The last few years have been the most traumatic time for all of us.

“Having to relive everything at the inquest has been harrowing but it was something we had to do for mum and dad.

“Our family is broken without them.”

Jatinder Paul, a lawyer from Irwin Mitchell, representing the family, added: “To find out that the couple died from a pesticide that had been sprayed in an adjoining room, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning, is shocking and deeply concerning.

“It’s now vital that lessons are learned to ensure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen to future holidaymakers.”

The German-owned hotel chain has been contacted for comment.

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